Verstappen holds off Alonso after late restart to win disrupted Dutch GP

2023 Dutch Grand Prix summary

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Max Verstappen won an eventful Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort in mixed conditions after a late restart following a red flag.

The Red Bull driver secured his ninth consecutive victory after rain struck the circuit at the start and end of the race. Fernando Alonso finished second and Pierre Gasly was promoted to third as Sergio Perez had a five-second time penalty.

As the field headed off the grid for the formation lap, the threat of rain started to materialise with drivers reporting spots on their visors. When the lights went out, Verstappen held the lead with Lando Norris keeping second place as Alonso took third from George Russell.

But as drivers continued over the opening lap, the rain fell heavily at the south side of the circuit. Drivers were left fighting for grip at the end of the lap, with many bailing into the pit lane at the end of the first lap for intermediates, including Perez, Zhou Guanyu and Pierre Gasly.

Verstappen pitted at the end of the second lap, with Norris and Russell remaining out. They were quickly caught by Perez on his intermediates, who took the lead of the race.

Eventually, many of those who remained out on slicks were forced to pit for intermediates. Perez led ahead of Zhou and Gasly in third, but Verstappen quickly made progress up the order, passing Gasly for second and immediately beginning to eat into Perez’s lead ahead.

With the track starting to dry, Verstappen pitted for soft tyres at the end of lap 11. Perez made the switch soon after, but by the time he left the pit lane, Verstappen was comfortably back in the lead of the race.

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Moments later, Logan Sargeant appeared to suffer a failure on his car when he clipped the apex kerb at turn eight, sending him spinning into the barriers and bringing out the Safety Car.

The field bunched up as the Williams was cleared until the race restarted at the beginning of lap 22 with Verstappen leading Perez, Alonso, Gasly and Carlos Sainz Jnr in fifth. The leaders held their order at the restart, with Verstappen pulling out of DRS range of his team mate behind by the time the system was activated.

As the track conditions stabilised, Verstappen gradually pulled away from his team mate and the gaps between the top five cars all stretched out. Perez eventually pitted for a second set of softs at the end of lap 45, rejoining in fourth behind Gasly, before the Alpine driver pitted as well. Alonso suffered a slow pit stop when he came in, dropping to fifth place behind Tsunoda.

Race leader Verstappen eventually pitted on lap 49, resuming well ahead of Perez, still in the lead. After Tsunoda made his stop, Alonso was able to catch Sainz ahead of him and retake third place with a strong pass in the opening sector.

With 15 laps remaining, teams began to prepare for another heavy rain shower before the end of the race. On lap 61, the rain arrived with a vengeance with the final sector of the circuit becoming soaked a matter of seconds. Many immediately pitted for intermediates, including Perez, Gasly, Sainz and the two Mercedes of Hamilton and Russell.

Verstappen pitted the next time by, as did Alonso, as the rain turned into a deluge. Esteban Ocon pitted for full wet weather tyres, and both Red Bulls opting to do the same soon afterwards after Perez spun at the first corner.

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Zhou, still on intermediates, aquaplaned off the track at Tarzan and slammed into the barriers, triggering a Virtual Safety Car period. But as the conditions deteriorated further, race control chose to red flag the race as Perez was leaving the pit lane.

The drivers lined up in the pit lane and were reordered to their positions the lap before the red flag. Verstappen led, Alonso held second and Perez was third ahead of Gasly, Sainz and Hamilton. Race control ordered that all drivers had to use intermediate tyres for the resumption of the race, for which a rolling start would be used after two laps behind the Safety Car.

The race eventually restarted on lap 67 with Verstappen leading away from Alonso and his team mate and Perez in third. However, Perez was hit with a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane, putting his podium position under threat. Behind, Norris and Russell clashed at turn 11, leaving Russell with a puncture that forced him to pit and dropped him to the rear of the field.

Verstappen pulled a small gap over Alonso behind and took the chequered flag to secure a home victory and a record-equalling ninth successive win. Alonso finished just under four seconds behind in second place with Perez crossing the line in third but falling behind Gasly with his penalty.

Sainz was fifth for Ferrari ahead of Hamilton in sixth, Norris in seventh and Albon eighth for Williams. Oscar Piastri and Esteban Ocon completed the points, with newcomer Liam Lawson taking the chequered flag in 13th place.

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2023 Dutch Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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50 comments on “Verstappen holds off Alonso after late restart to win disrupted Dutch GP”

  1. Weird Perez wasn’t even investigated (or mentioned by anybody) for coming back in the race in the opposite direction (Alonso could have potentially crashed into him if he lost the car like perez), instead of rejoin safely like anybody else did

    1. Anyone think it was weird that Verstappen forcing Gasly off track wasn’t even investigated?

      1. Yes. I agree. It seemed quite forcefully from what I could tell from the onboard camera.

      2. Noticed that, the only way that makes sense is if Gasly bailed out of it. Verstappen ran right to the end of the road.

        Either the stewards had additional camera angles, or they did their usual shenanigans.

        1. Or the Red Bull B team decided not to contact the stewards with a complaint against the Red Bull A team

          1. Gasly isn’t on the Red Bull B-Team

      3. I agree, but in the cool down room both looked at the replay on screen and I saw no tension at all coming from either with regard to what happened. ‘Ran out of grip’ I believe I heard Max comment but it was unclear whether he meant ‘you ran out of grip and went wide’ or ‘I went out of grip and went wide’. But again, no negative body language from either when reviewing.

  2. A record-breaking 10th victory awaits next Sunday & good drives by both Alonso & Gasly.
    Ferrari’s pace was nowhere, damage or not, & Checo also threw out a second place in the end, while nothing really went right for Sargeant, although I’m baffled how long he needed to wait on trackside before getting a ride back to the pit lane.
    Zhou’s off was unfortunate after how relatively decently he’d done before.
    Albon, Norris, & Russell, unfortunately, also lost chances for high-ish positions quite early on.
    Tsunoda’s defending was questionable occasionally, as was Max’s at T3, which surprisingly didn’t even get noted, let alone warned, like some other moves.
    Lawson did decently for his first race.

    1. pizza_pazzo2004
      27th August 2023, 17:00

      We mustn’t forget it’s been raining.

    2. Perez threw away 3rd place with the pitlane speed, but 2nd place went fair and square through Alonso overtaking

      1. Verstappen was flawless. Again. His concistancy is scaring me. Even when circumstances were getting worse, right before the red red flag came out, Perez went off, even Lewis overshooted turn 1, and Vertappens lead went over 30 seconds just before the red flag.

        Credits for Alonso, didn’t make a mistake in such difficult circomstances, and got a well deserved P2

        1. Don’t know why this was posted twice. Must have hit a wrong button?

        2. Agree that Max was pretty much flawless, but the RB strategy was less than perfect, they first pitstopped Checo with a perfect timing that put him well ahead of everybody, then they undercut him with Max to avoid a risky pass on track. Later on the switch to full wets for Max seemed needless, they had a gap large enough to perform it without losing position but anything can go wrong. In the present F1 full wets are useless; every time the conditions are right for them we get a SC or a red flag.

          On the other hand both Fred and the AM strategy were near perfect. Zandvoort in the rain is a driver’s circuit, and the two best drivers in the field by far took advantage of it. Even if the AM has fallen behind Ferrari, Merc and McL, the rain is a great equalizer.

          1. the AM strategy were near perfect.

            Obviously I forgat about the 8+ seconds pitstop that got Fred behind Sainz. Anyhow Fred ghot the position back pretty fast. Really Fred had a superb race. Both Max and him were near perfect but it was harder for Fred, he had to get into a lot more fights. Life is easier at the front.

        3. notagrumpyfan
          27th August 2023, 20:36

          Max was flawless, except for his overtake on Gasly for 2nd.
          Not sure if it should be penalised, but I didn’t like it.

          1. Pretty aggressive but he had the line, was ahead and closed the door on him.

          2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            28th August 2023, 0:55

            Pretty aggressive but he had the line, was ahead and closed the door on him.

            Actually, Max said he had no grip…

          3. Or Max said ‘you had no grip’ to Gasly. Either way there wasn’t any animosity between the two when watching the replay. So a non issue.

      2. @smallvizier Yes, but 2nd by going off at Tarzan.

    3. I forgot to add ‘consecutive’ earlier.

  3. This late race red flag really got into my nerves.

    40 min red flag to do 5 more laps on a tiny short track with no DRS. Only thing worth of note was Russell collecting damage.

    1. I agree & I wouldn’t have minded running all remaining laps under those heavy rain conditions without an interruption or behind the SC.

      1. Except that a car had crashed into the techpro barrier at speed at the end of the main straight and repairing that would have taken the remaining laps under SC anyways.

    2. Yes, would’ve liked to have green flag running too, full wets are barely useful even in those conditions, ocon had lost 2 seconds very quickly compared to the driver he was chasing and then recovered 2 shortly before the VSC came, it was still barely competitive with the intermediates, in a way I think if you are in full wets you’re playing it safe and relying on other people to run off the track on intermediates: if one doesn’t run off the track it’s very hard to make up time on him, not to mention the insane risk of stoppages if people go off.

      And indeed, considering a crash like zhou’s means they need to repair the barriers in this era in f1 they will always neutralise it some way and the only way to even have a continuation is a red flag: both VSC and SC running would go to the end of the race.

    3. 7 laps is at least more reasonable then 1 or 2, even if it didn’t amount to much (would have been more interesting if they weren’t allowed to change tyres, seeing as both RBs were on full wets)

  4. Did McLaren learn nothing from Sochi 2021? As Martin Brundle would say, “always be on the right tyre at the right time”. They pitted not 1 but 3 laps too late for inters. Other than that, what a cracking Grand Prix!

    1. Mercedes was worse. With the race pace they had they could have had at least once car on the podium and maybe two.

    2. Agreed. This track also showed us how to police track limits; have grass and gravel. No a single track limit violation – apply this to other tracks and problem solved……

  5. I was impressed by the masterclass from one driver and the mediocrity of another today. Hats off to Verstappen, the relentless stint he pulled to engulf Perez was quite something. He may be the best I’ve seen since Schumacher.

    Solid displays from Hamilton and Alonso. Shame for McLaren though, both kids were on good form as well, but strategy took that away. Great race by Albon. Zhou did good too, but got unlucky.

    Oh, and some love to Ferrari. I know everyone messed up their strategy, but those guys are just another level!

    1. Verstappen was flawless. Again. His concistancy is scaring me. Even when circumstances were getting worse, right before the red red flag came out, Perez went off, even Lewis overshooted turn 1, and Vertappens lead went over 30 seconds just before the red flag.

      Credits for Alonso, didn’t make a mistake in such difficult circomstances, and got a well deserved P2

    2. Just a solid showing for Alonso? He went from 5th to third 1.5 corners and then soon went up to second a few moments later. Then he passed Zhou and later Yuki in an instant while Norris failed to pass him. After a botched stop put Sainz ahead of Alonso, he was taking half seconds per sector out of him, passed him (his only DRS pass among the 7+ passes he had) and got fastest lap to boot. .

      1. Yet, Max and Fred both did a great job, only Fred’s job was a lot harder.

    3. He may be the best I’ve seen since Schumacher.

      Having seen both drivers race at their prime… Schumacher’s performances during even his best seasons (96,97,02 and 04) haven’t even been close to that of Verstappen this season.

  6. Great race and loved the crowd. Even in the rain it was a party. Very enjoyable to see!

    1. notagrumpyfan
      27th August 2023, 20:43

      Great crowd indeed
      I decided to join them by getting a beer and jump under the shower with a liner bag and the music on ten. I even got a stuffed orange lion out to cheer me up.

    2. Each to their own, it seemed like a cheap rave with music constantly playing.

  7. Unpopular opinion: This track needs no drs. SAI HAM NOR battle at the end would have just been a walk over but they were all working like fiends to attack and defend lap after lap. So much better than seeing HAM and then NOR blast past on the straight listening to crofty try to hype it up like it was going to be the best pass in history.

    1. All nicely orchestrated to make sure verstappen wins in a car which clearly half a second faster than the field….what’s the point of wet tyres and not been allowed to race joe public are required to slow down to the conditions on normal roads and atleast it would have thrown a wild card into this race in what has become the most boring season in all the 25 years I’ve watched f1….

      1. I absolutely despite the fact they don’t let them race in heavy rain, but in this particular case, when you have a car crashed the way zhou was, in this era of f1 there’s only 3 options: VSC, SC, red flag.

        I heard the barriers also got damaged, which means it would take too long to repair them and they wouldn’t give green flag again until that was done, so the only real option to finish the race was a red flag, which unfortunately means we can say goodbye to full wet conditions, and actually the little I saw the full wet tyres were barely competitive with inters at the wettest moment before the VSC.

      2. 3rd word was meant to be “despise”*

    2. Every track needs no DRS.

  8. I liked the cheering for Gasly and Alonso at the post race interview

  9. I don’t know what Aston are paying Fernando but he must be worth every penny. I know Stroll isn’t exactly seen as WC material but I don’t think it’s his performances that are flattering Alonso. It just seems that when the driver can make a difference Fernando is always in there.

    1. Absolutely, on one hand it’s great to see such a talent in action – but on the other it’s also disappointing that nothing better has come up through the ranks. If Hamilton and Alonso inevitably call it quits, it’s going to be a pretty lackluster grid.

      1. I was thinking about this yesterday. There does seem to be a lack of talent coming through. Where is the next Max, Lewis or Fernando?

        Piastri has looked pretty good so far but he’s not done anything outstanding. Leclerc and Norris are pretty good but not a par with the three named. But then they don’t have their cars.

  10. Coventry Climax
    27th August 2023, 21:35

    but Verstappen quickly made progress up the order, passing Gasly for second and immediately beginning to eat into Perez’s lead ahead.

    That was actually a blistering stint and without it, that undercut would never have been possible.

    When will things fall into place for Williams and Albon? I feel he deserved a better result today. I’m not sure about their strategy department, but I do get the feeling they too frequently depend on gambling instead of a pre-calculated plan.

    So many people saying you can’t overtake at Zandvoort. Today proved them all wrong, even if the weather played a big role in it. And many of the overtakes were without DRS even, which was very nice for a change.

    Ferrari were their usual self again, being pitstop panic and failure. Wonder how long Vasseur will be allowed to stay before the next victim gets the position.

  11. Leclerc should wait and see what car McLaren builds for the next season, and then possibly move there in 2025. Ferrari is a lost case and Hamilton will most probably re-sign, so Mercedes might be off the table.

    1. @pironitheprovocateur

      The way Leclerc’s stock is plummeting, I don’t think a Mercedes drive will be there in his future. I could easily see Mercedes making a play for either Norris or Piastri when Lewis retires, instead of Charles.

  12. schumi_alonso
    28th August 2023, 2:53

    other than Monaco 2022, has there been a race in the past 5 years that wet weather tyres were used for more than 10 laps but under green flag conditions? or does it seem now that any race requiring wet weather tyres would be either SC or red flagged?

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